SIOUX CITY, Iowa — It's been an unprecedented day in the sports world, with collegiate and professional organizations suspending or canceling seasons as concern over COVID-19 grows.
Wednesday, after just one day of gameplay, the NAIA canceled the remainder of the winter tournaments, including the NAIA DII Women's Tournament taking place this week at the Tyson Events Center.
"There are a lot of conferences around the country," GPAC Commissioner Corey Westra told us following the announcement. "The big Power 5's all the way down into the other divisions doing the exact same thing. We are not in an isolation here. We are doing what a lot of people are doing."
The teams found out Thursday afternoon as games were currently being played about the decision made by the NAIA.
"My first reaction was disbelief," said Florida's Southeastern College Athletic Director, Drew Watson. "During the second half... we were monitoring the ACC, SEC, those tournaments being canceled. My hope was that since this was a national tournament... that the NAIA would have allowed this to continue. But I think the NAIA did what they thought was best and I can't argue with that because our student-athletes are our No. 1 priority.
The first sports league to suspend play was the NBA, calling off the remainder of the season Tuesday after a player tested positive for COVID-19.
In the 24 hours since the NBA made that call, Major League Baseball has suspended spring training and delayed opening day by two weeks.
Major League Soccer has also suspended its season for 30 days, effective immediately.
The motorsports industry is also making changes, with NASCAR running its next two race weekends without fans in the stands.
And just a day after announcing its annual "March Madness" tournaments would be held without fans, the NCAA has now canceled the events entirely.
But here in Sioux City, the cancellation of the NAIA tournament isn't the only sporting event impacted: the United States Hockey League has also suspended the current season, which means the end for the Sioux City Musketeers current schedule for the time being.
"We need to hit the pause button," said Musketeers Owner Lloyd Ney. "Obviously when you have athletes crisscrossing the country nightly and interacting with tens of thousands of people nightly, it doesn't take much to see that it could spread quickly."
The NHL has also suspended the remainder of its season. There were 189 games and three and a half weeks remaining in the regular season and 10 games slated for Thursday.
"This is a tough situation for everybody and we just try to make the best decisions we can," Watson said about the decision athletic leagues are making to cancel.
The canceling of the tournament comes as other national and professional leagues call off games and cancel the remainder of seasons.
This was set to be the final NAIA DII tournament before the league moves into a single division next year.
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